Jesus and Organized Religion (1)

From my point of view, I would ban religion completely. Organized religion doesn’t seem to work. It turns people into really hateful lemmings and it’s not really compassionate. Sir Elton John 

Organized religions in general, in my opinion, are dying forms. There were all very important when we didn’t know why the sun moved, why weather changed, why hurricanes occurred, or volcanoes happened. Modern religion is the end trail of modern mythology. Bruce Willis

I love Native American spirituality and paganism, and I’ve studied Buddhism. I think organised religion is one of the top problems of the world actually, so no, I’d say I steer clear of religion and go straight towards spirituality. Pink

Don’t assume that this kind of thinking is limited to a few people in the entertainment world. Steven Weinberg, winner of the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physics, said: Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.

And no less than the Dali Lama weighed in a couple of years ago (on Facebook, where else?), All of the world’s major religions, with their emphasis on love, compassion, patience, tolerance, and forgiveness can and do promote inner values. But the reality of the world today is that grounding ethics in religion is no longer adequate. This is why I am increasingly convinced that the time has come to find a way of thinking about spirituality and ethics beyond religion altogether.

Well, there you have it—it’s no exaggeration to say that everywhere we turn we’re hearing that organized religion is headed the way of the dinosaur (and none too soon for many). Indeed, the Pew Center for Research reported in 2019 that 26% of Americans have no religious affiliation (this group is referred to as the Nones). Demographically, the percentage of Nones increases as age decreases. For example, 40% of Millennials fall into this category. And in an earlier report from 2015, the PCR found that of those Millennials born between 1990-96 (some of the youngest), 70% said that religion was not important in their lives. A report from 2012 said Nones thought religion in America was too concerned with money, power, politics, and rules (not necessarily in that order).

What can we say in response to this? Is there anything we can say? I believe there is. More to the point, I think we can share some things that Jesus said—things that can make a difference to them (and us). There is respect and admiration for Jesus that transcend categories. This shouldn’t really surprise us because it was that way in His time as well.

Part Two



Published by A Taste of Grace with Bruce Green

I grew up the among the cotton fields, red clay and aerospace industry of north Alabama. My wife and I are blessed with three adult children and five grandchildren.

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